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school visit

Being an author and illustrator, there is more to just creating books. It is about sharing the experience, especially with your audience, kids. I approach the presentations and workshops from an author and illustrato'rs perspective. Each day is different with new objectives and deadlines. I do not have one boss but dozens of different people that I work with in order to complete a book or project. Reading, writing, drawing, and communication work hand-in-hand and are something enjoyable to do. Every child should takeaway from the time together, that it takes hard work and dedication to reach their goals, but they can do it, from anywhere in the world.


I offer a fun, interactive presentation on how I create the words and illustrations for my books. Using a slide show, I show samples of my work; the writing process, including drafts, revisions, and final copy; and how I create illustrations by using research, storyboards, character development, sketches, a dummy, and final art.

The presentation also talks about the importance of revisions, edits, and constantly reworking a book in order to get it ready for print. Many people are involved in the process so they learn that it is not just me creating the book.

I bring in physical artwork to share. It is important for children to see an actual piece of artwork so they can understand the process. We will discuss what a day is like in the studio and I am open to answering questions throughout the presentation. We end the presentation with the children creating drawings and mini books that involve writing and drawing.

The presentations can be broken down into smaller groups (maximum of 30 children per class), which are ideal for workshops, or into larger groups for a general overview of my creative process. The workshops allow me to give each student some personal time and allows them to share their work. Exceptions can be made but please contact me in advance.

During the lunch break, I enjoy sitting with a group children who are interested in writing and drawing. This gives them a chance to chat one-on-one with me, especially if they are shy or are quiet. Please limit the group to 4-6.

I am available for college and conference lectures. Please contact me at russ@smilingotis.com to discuss.



1 Presentation: $150
2 Presentations: $300
3 Presentations: $425
4 Presentations: $550
Full Day* : $650

*General assembly plus 4 workshops.

First 100 miles of car travel are free. Any travel time outside of 2 hours, may require overnight lodging and food plus mileage. Travel outside of the New England area will require air fare as well as food, and lodging.


I will provide the following:
Laptop (Mac)
Projector cables
Large drawing pad
Drawing supplies for demos

The venue will need to supply the following:
Projector (Mac compatible)
Overhead projector (for demos)
PA system for large groups
Paper and drawing supples
Access to photocopier (handouts)